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April 20, 2024
You are currently viewing Centre trains journalists on fact-checking to combat fake news

Centre trains journalists on fact-checking to combat fake news

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By Diana Omueza

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has trained journalists on the use of “Meedan tool” for fact-checking, to combat fake news, misinformation, ahead of the Sept. 21 Edo governorship election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Meedan Tool is a technology-based open-source software platform for fact-checking and content annotation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Sa’eed Husaini, the acting Director of the Centre, said that the training was to enhance the capacities of the journalists toward fighting misinformation and fake news.

Husaini said that journalists were professionals with the responsibility to disseminate information to the public.

“Misinformation and disinformation work in scattered and disorganised ways to undermine robust participation in key activities, which are at the heart of the process of consolidating democracy.

“The scale of the challenge is massive, and no single stakeholder working alone can effectively address a challenge of this scale.

“Only yesterday, we saw how official communication from the highest office in the land could result in misinformation to the citizens.

“There are a plethora of other instances that make it imperative for us as journalists and information managers to be vigilant and circumspect when we share information,” he said.

Husaini said that disinformation and other forms of information were capable of sparking chain reactions, which could either lead to a breakdown of law and order or distrust in democratic institutions.

He said that disinformation could be the reason voters stayed away completely from casting their ballots in elections and needs to be addressed.

Husaini said that as the off-cycle governorship election in Edo and Ondo State were fast approaching, CDD was ready to work closely with the media to counter disinformation in all ramifications before, during and after the election.

“It is to start the process of achieving this goal that we are hosting this Breakfast Session on the Meedan tool.

“We similarly look forward to your support in helping to publicise the Meedan tool by letting the public know they can report claims through Meedan Check, and those claims will be verified in a timely manner,” he said.

In his welcome remarks, the CDD fact-checking lead officer, Mr Armsfree Ajanaku, said, “Our focus is on how to use this innovative tool known as Meedan Check to enhance our efforts in countering disinformation.

“As journalists and professionals with the responsibility to inform the public, we cannot underestimate the threat posed by misinformation and disinformation.

“We look forward to your support in publicizing the Meedan tool by letting the public know they can report claims through Meedan Check and claims would be verified swiftly, ” he said.(NAN)

Edited by Mohammed Baba Busu/Ali Baba-Inuwa

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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